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FRAC WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST

Issue #29, July 17, 2017

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President’s Budget/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Cuts

How Would Trump’s Food Stamp Cuts Hurt Americans? Let Us Count the Ways – Modern Farmer, July 13, 2017
The president’s budget proposes requiring states to pay for a portion of SNAP costs — currently, the federal government provides 100 percent of SNAP funding. “This cataclysmic change to the structure of the program would lead states to cut benefits and eligibility in good times, and would eviscerate SNAP’s ability to respond to economic downturns,” said Jim Weill, president of FRAC, in a statement released after the administration announced proposed SNAP cuts.
   

Sen. Gillibrand visits Olean farmers’ market, attacks Trump budget’s proposed food stamp cuts – Olean Times Herald, July 9, 2017
On a visit to the Olean Farmers’ Market in New York State, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) urged fellow senators to reject the president’s budget proposal to cut SNAP funding by $190 billion over 10 years. Many of the 44 million Americans on SNAP, including 3 million New Yorkers, “need SNAP to put food on the table for their families during these tough times because, frankly, wages are too low and they need SNAP to fill in the gaps,” said Gillibrand. She also encouraged people who attended the market to speak out against the proposed cuts.
   

SNAP cuts make it harder for Maine families to put food on the table – Bangor Daily News, July 12, 2017
“If Congress adopts proposals from the president’s budget, it would have devastating consequences for our country’s most vulnerable residents,” writes Kristen Miale, president of the Good Shepherd Food Bank, in this op-ed. The budget would require states to contribute to SNAP costs — in Maine, that would amount to $64 million annually, or $444 million over the next 10 years. “The only recourse would be to cut benefits and remove people from the rolls,” notes Miale. “We at Good Shepherd Food Bank urge our leaders to protect SNAP — and the millions of Americans who use the program to feed their families,” Miale concludes.
   

SNAP improves food security for vulnerable in WV – WV Gazette Mail, July 9, 2017
“As Congress begins the process of renewing SNAP, I hope our congressional representatives, David McKinley, Alex Mooney and Evan Jenkins, will understand how important SNAP is to our state and communities,” writes Ellen Allen, executive director of Covenant House in Charleston, in this op-ed. SNAP helps 357,000 West Virginians — which includes 24,000 children — put food on the table and stay out of poverty. “That’s one in five West Virginia residents who have been laid off, can’t find full-time work, have experienced an expensive medical emergency or otherwise need a little extra help to get by in hard times,” writes Allen.
   

Summer Nutrition Programs

Fewer Indiana Kids Getting Free Summer Meals – Eagle Country Online, July 12, 2017
The number of Indiana children receiving free summer meals fell from 79,000 in July 2015 to 68,000 in July 2016, according to FRAC’s summer nutrition report. The state ranked 23rd for summer nutrition program participation. Mychaela Brandle, coordinator of the summer program for Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, said that implementing strategies from states that are feeding more children summer meals could help. Many summer meal sites offer educational activities, which is a draw. “The activities and the enrichment keep kids safe and learning, and out of trouble while their parents are working … and then, the food helps to ensure that they’re healthy and not hungry, and able to fully benefit from the program,” said Crystal FitzSimons, director of school and out of school time programs at FRAC.
   

Good to see – Emporia Gazette, July 11, 2017
Rep. Roger Marshall (R-KS) recently visited the MealSpot mobile meal program, part of the summer meal program in Emporia, Kansas. “I think the MealSpot food trailer is a great idea,” he said. “It’s hard to believe in a state where we’re the largest agriculture-producing district in the country, that there are still food insecurity issues. It’s great that (Emporia) is trying to take nutrition to the children.” Marshall heard about the project “through the grapevine,” said Shelly Kelley, community services officer for the city.
   

Hannibal offers free summer lunches to any youth who comes – WHIG.com, July 8, 2017
FRAC reports that in July 2016, only 1 in 7 children who received free or reduced-price school lunch during the school year also participated in the summer nutrition programs. Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) show that Missouri ranks in the bottom 10 states for participation in the summer programs, with only 1 out of 100 eligible children receiving free summer meals. Hannibal’s summer meals program is run by Douglass Community Services, which is working to share more information about the meals through social media, neighborhood canvassing, and information flyers.
   

From Free Lunches to Housing, Children’s Hospitals Provide a Wide Array of Community Benefit Services – US News, June 27, 2017
The Affordable Care Act requires all tax-exempt hospitals to assess community health needs every three years and develop strategies, measure program impact, and file reports on services addressing those needs. Children’s hospitals are complying by participating in the summer meals program and helping patients access healthy food.
   

School Lunch Shaming

Banning ‘lunch shaming’ – Register Guard, July 10, 2017
The Oregon House recently passed House Bill 3454, which prohibits schools from forcing students to work to pay for school meals and makes it illegal to stigmatize students with outstanding meal account balances. It also requires that schools deal with parents and guardians —not students — in order to balance accounts. USDA is requiring school districts to adopt policies addressing meal debts. PBS NewsHour reported on a 2014 federal report that showed 39 percent of U.S. school districts provided cheap alternate meals to students with outstanding accounts, and 6 percent of districts do not feed these students at all.
   

Putting end to ‘lunch shaming’ – Tribune Chronicle, July 10, 2017
School districts in New Mexico are working to implement lunch practices that protect children from shaming. “We train staff on how to handle this properly,” said Kevin Spicher, superintendent of Howland Local School District. “The student isn’t called aside, lunch workers note the debt and address it with the administration to make calls to the student’s parents.” Vincent Colaluca, superintendent of Austintown School District, said parents with outstanding accounts are reminded to apply for free or reduced-price lunch. “Many parents don’t know they can apply and receive the status any time of the year, not just at the beginning,” he said.
   

Community Eligibility Provision

Students eligible for no cost meals – Union Daily Times, July 8, 2017
All students in South Carolina’s Union County schools will be able to receive free breakfast and lunch at no charge during the 2017–2018 school year, through the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). “CEP alleviates the burden on families by eliminating household applications, while helping schools reduce costs associated with collecting and processing those applications,” said Susan H. Thompson, the district’s school food service director.
   

From FRAC Chat

How Much Food Does $22 Buy? — FRAC Chat, July 12, 2017
Rachael Borman, a summer intern at FRAC and a student at the University of Florida, reports on her recent experience taking the SNAP Challenge.

   
To Expand Summer Meals, Increase Summer Learning Opportunities — FRAC Chat, July 13, 2017
In this guest post, Rachel Gwaltney of the National Summer Learning Association highlights the connection between summer programming and summer meals and the benefits of both in preventing learning loss and hunger. Summer programs provide the platform for summer meals, which ensure that children have the nutrition they need to focus and learn throughout the day.